Fitness and weight loss apps

Mobile apps that encourage positive lifestyle changes to help maintain long-term weight control.

Deciding on a suitable weight loss app – help me choose

While there are a growing number of apps to assist weight loss, very few are credible. A study assessing the quality of mobile apps for weight management examined the presence of the following evidence-based strategies (Rivera J et al, 2016)1:

  • self-monitoring capabilities which enable users to track parameters over time, such as weight, meals, nutrition (including protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, and water), physical activity, cardiometabolic indicators, sleep, mental health indicators, including mood, thought patterns, cognitions, and stress, environmental influences, and custom metrics
  • goal-setting with or without customization, such as weight loss goals, calorie balance goals, water intake goals, and physical activity goals
  • healthy eating support such as healthy eating guidelines, meal plans, calorie balance goals, and nutritional information for specific foods
  • physical activity support such as  fitness plans, exercise guides, and tracking of daily physical activity
  • social support such as online communication with other users
  • weight and health assessment, with or without personalization such as BMI assessment
  • motivational strategies including prompts, rewards, or gamified design
  • personalized feedback such as through virtual meetings with a health coach or through notifications.

The study concluded that despite the abundance of mobile apps for weight management, the evidence-based quality of these apps remains generally poor. Very few apps included one or more of the above strategies. In addition, most apps do not involve health care experts in their development process, and have not undergone rigorous scientific testing. 

App reviews: weight loss apps

The following weight loss apps have been reviewed.

App name Description Clinical score

Noom Coach



  • Coaching team messaging
  • Support group and recipe database
  • Barcode scanner and food database
  • Customised daily lessons and exercises available in written or podcast format
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes
  • Read more about Noom Coach

Calorie Counter


  • Calorie counter with food database
  • Weight tracking
  • Free recipes
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes
  • Cost: free
  • Read more about Calorie Counter

MyFitnessPal

 

  • Goal setting- Nutrition, physical activity and weight
  • Food diary
  • Calorie counter
  • Weight chart
  • Exercise tracker
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes
  • Cost: free
  • Read more about MyFitnessPal

Monitor Your Weight

Monitor your weight icon

  • Weight tracking
  • Graphs
  • Personalisation features
  • Multiple profiles
  • Non-obtrusive ads
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes
  • Cost: free
  • Read more about Monitor Your Weight

Weight Loss Tracker

 

  • Weight tracking with graphs
  • BMI calculator
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes
  • Cost: free
  • Read more about Weight Loss Tracker

My Diet Coach

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  • Calorie counting through food and exercise
  • Personalisation
  • Reminders
  • Minimal ads
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes
  • Cost: free (premium version on subscription basis)
  • Read more about My Diet Coach
Two out of five stars
Excluded apps

Related topics

Consumer guide: how to choose a health app
Clinicians guide: how to choose a health app
Security and privacy of health apps
NZ Health App Library

References

  1. Rivera J, McPherson A, Hamilton J, Birken C, et al. Mobile Apps for Weight Management: A Scoping Review(external link). JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2016 Jul 26;4(3):e87.
App developer: If you are the developer and would like to provide updated information about this app, please email the app library manager at hello@healthify.nz

Disclaimer: Healthify’s app library is a free consumer service to help you decide whether a health app would be suitable for you. Our review process is independent. We have no relationship with the app developers or companies and no responsibility for the service they provide. This means that if you have an issue with one of the apps we have reviewed, you will need to contact the app developer or company directly.

Credits: Editorial team

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